Getting Disability Without A Strong Work History

Researcher & Writer
January 22, 2016

Understanding the work requirements needed should disability strike is extremely important. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a payroll-tax funded federal program that pays out benefits to those who cannot work because they’re disabled. In order to be eligible, the applicant must meet certain employment requisites.

One of two disability benefits programs offered through the Social Security Administration, SSDI only offers benefits to those who meet a strict disability definition and have worked enough under a job covered by Social Security.

The federal government must first answer a few important questions regarding a person’s work history:

  • Has this applicant worked long enough to qualify? and
  • Has this applicant worked recent enough to qualify?

In order to answer these questions and determine disability benefit qualification, the Social Security Administration will determine how many Social Security credits an applicant has. Credits are basic units of measurements that gauge accumulated work.

No benefits will be paid to applicants who do not have enough work credits.

To determine the number of Social Security credits an applicant has, the Administration will use a person’s total yearly wages or self-employment income as a base. Additionally, credits are built only upon earnings in which Social Security taxes are paid.

One credit is given when a worker earns a certain amount—in 2015, that amount is $1,220.

For example, Ben will earn 1 credit for every $1,220 he makes in wages. He can only earn up to four credits per year. To find out how many credits a worked needs to qualify for Social Security Benefits, the following tables is a general foundation:

If a worker becomes disabled... Generally, a worker needs In or before the quarter turning 24 6 credits or 1.5 years of work over the 3-year period before the disability started In the quarter after turning 24 but before the quarter turning 31 Credits for half of the years between the 21st birthday and the quarter becoming disabled. Example: If you became disabled at age 29, four years of work or 16 credits will be needed. In the quarter turning 31 through 42 20 credits At 42 through 62 Credits that equal your age subtracted by 12. Example: if he or she becomes disabled at age 50, 28 credits will be needed. At or after 62 40 credits
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